PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - My cell phone rang at 8 a.m., and I let it go to voicemail. The number was from out of state. "Probably a solicitor," I thought to myself.
But later in the day, I listened to the phone message and realized the caller was not trying to sell anything. He wanted to help someone who appeared in my news report the day before.
Lennie McCloskey has been a constable in Maricopa County for 15 years, but he's never had a month like last month due to the coronavirus.
"If you could let me know what his rent is, what he is behind on, I would like to try and help him," said the man, whose name we are withholding because he wishes to remain anonymous.
The caller was referring to Robert Bettis, who was behind on his rent partially because he was forced to self-quarantine at home and unable to work for two weeks. Doctors believed his mother, who lives with Bettis, his 3-year-old daughter, and his wife had COVID-19.
"You just kind of sit here not knowing what to do, and it is stressful. It really is," said Bettis, who washes big rigs for a living and is the breadwinner of the family.
Two days, five phone conversations, and a quick background check later (I am an investigative reporter, after all), I found myself driving to Bettis' apartment complex with a cashier's check from the out of state "eviction angel."
The man paid $2,400 to the apartment complex, asking for nothing in return, except that I give Robert Bettis a letter. Bettis agreed to read it aloud.
"Robert, my brother, I heard of your current situation. My prayer is that this gift be a blessing to you and your family. I leave my name out because it’s about him. Jesus - not about me," said the letter that Bettis read aloud.
Tears streamed down his cheeks as he described what this gift will allow him to do and to focus on: Working and his family.